Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Best Books Read in 2012

It’s time of my annual wrap-up of the best books I read in 2012. Although mysteries (all sub-genres) dominate, I did read several enticing novels from other genres that captivated me.

I fell short of my goal of reading at least 100 novels last year but did manage to read 78 novels, novellas and short stories.

I began the year with Janet Evanovich’s Fearless Fourteen and ended it with her Finger Lickin’ Fifteen . I also read two books by another favorite author Carl Hiaasen and both made my favorites list: Striptease and Star Island. It’s pure joy when I pick up one of their books. Sue Grafton’s V is for Vengeance was not only one of my favorites this year but my favorite from her alphabet series. The ending was perfect.

I have tried to divide the rest of my favorites into categories:

Thrillers and Detective Procedurals:

Secret Prey by John Sandford. The murderer was a surprise although the clues were there but I love being surprised.

First Family by David Baldacci. Not wanting to give anything away, I will say there was exceptional suspense and climax.

Trial Junkies by Robert Gregory Browne. Excellent twists and turns from an author new to me. I look forward to more of his books.

Two outstanding novels by Iain Edward Henn: Disappear and The Delta Chain. This is another author new to me this year. Disappear is one of the best page turners I’ve read in years. In The Delta Chain, an array of characters, good and evil, lead to one of the longest, most harrowing climactic scenes I’ve ever read. Both are fantastic reads.

Solo by Jack Higgins. This author is one of my all-time favorites but beautiful scenes from the Greek Isles make this novel a stand-out. It is a cat and mouse hunt from England to Greece and back again.

Thicker Than Water by G.M. Ford. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author and it is a great rollicking but brutal adventure.

The Chalk Girl by Carol O’Connell.  A psychological thriller in which I can only say, wow! It is part of a series but the first I’ve read by this author. Superior plotting and writing.

The Matarese Countdown by Robert Ludlum. This is the sequel to The Matarese Circle, which I read years and years ago. I love Ludlum’s books and this one didn’t disappoint with an exciting convoluted plot.

Secrets to Die For by LJ Sellers. A violent story of rape and murder with twists and turns and an unbelievable traumatic climax. A real page turner.

Fire and Ice by Dana Stabenow. This is the first Liam Campbell mystery. The action goes from spotting herring in a plane to stumbling over bodies in a small Alaskan settlement. An excellent, thrilling read.

Cozy Mysteries:

Where There’s a Will by Mary Roberts Rinehart. This was an old-fashioned, hilarious romp, very different from many of her mysteries.

Chile Death by SusanWittig Albert. There are lots of suspects, red herrings, an unexpected villain and a rip-roaring climax. Lots of chile folklore also.

Giving Up the Ghost by Marilyn Levinson. This is a ghost story with a rousing ending to a well-plotted mystery.

Bogey’s Ace in the Hole by Marja McGraw. A thoroughly engaging cozy mystery with a climax that left me laughing out loud.

Divine Inspiration by Jane Langton. A Homer Kelly mystery that had a slow start but when the pieces finally came together, it reached a clamorous climax.


A Stolen Chance by Linda LaRoque—romantic suspense. Outstanding storyline and one of my favorite settings: the American Southwest.

The Marriage List by Jean Joachim. I read many wonderful romances by Jean Joachim in 2012 but this one was my favorite. I truly loved it. It is a very sensual love story with plenty of yummy food to add to the spiciness of the romance.

Valentine’s Gift by Marie-Nicole Ryan. This is a sequel to See You in My Dreams, which takes place ten years later. It is a lovely follow-up of the main characters and how their lives changed but their love remained despite suspicions and unexpected illness.


The Cheetah Princess by Joan Conning Afman is a beautifully written novel of love and suspense in another world setting.


I reread My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart. I first read it when I was a senior in college and at that time I was blown away by it. It influenced me, not only in my reading habits but also to become a world traveler. Rereading it I realized how far romantic suspense has come since then because although there was suspense, the romance was very understated. But it still remains at the top of my list of all time favorite novels.